U.S. v. Sterling [CAAF Dkt # 15-0510/MC]

From: “Don Rehkopf, Jr.”
Subject: U.S. v. Sterling [CAAF Dkt # 15-0510/MC]
Date: December 28, 2015 at 7:18:43 PM MST
To: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]>

Mr. Weinstein:

As counsel of record for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation [MRFF], enclosed for your and the MRFF’s Board’s review is an Amicus Curiae Brief filed today in the above-styled case by “Nine Retired General Officers.”  While I am an advocate in this matter, it strains credulity that nine retired General Officers would file an official pleading in a United States Court without any type of disclaimer that they are appealing in their personal (as opposed to official) capacities.  Indeed, some of the named amici have previous personal experience in failing to ensure such a distinction, as you know.

DoD’s Joint Ethics Regulation, DoD 5500.07-R (as amended) expressly forbids such criticism of the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals’ decision at issue herein, as paragraph 2-304, states: “any use of military titles is prohibited if it in any way casts discredit on DoD . . . .” by retired military members.   Such conduct is in my opinion, illegal as violating Article 133, of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, [10 U.S.C. § 933], as “Conduct Unbecoming an Officer” – certainly something that anyone graduating from one of the Nation’s Military Service Academies or who is a General Officer should be cognizant of.

http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/550007r.pdf

 Equally as disturbing to me are their claims that, inter alia, “Religious belief has inspired and continues to inspire America’s men and women to join military service.” Patriotism is what inspired most of us who have served to join and remain in the military. “Freedom of religion” and its lawful exercise can only mean that as individuals, each person – to include members of the Armed Forces – has the freedom to follow the dictates of our personal consciences, be they religiously inspired, philosophically inspired, or secularly influenced. 

 But, this case is not about religion or the Appellant’s “free exercise” of it.  It is about her refusing to obey direct orders of her superior, an NCO, to remove signs on her USMC issued desk furniture and equipment, in a common area where other Servicemembers would come for assistance, inside of a USMC building on a major USMC military installation – something that her NCO had a valid military interest in keeping “neutral.”  Indeed, the message on the 3 signs she posted – contrary to the claims of her counsel and many of the various amici, was not a “Bible verse.” Rather, it contained a paraphrasis of her own and subsequently claimed to be “biblical” when in fact it is not.  Something that the Nine Retired General Officers, and their claimed religious expertise misrepresent when they refer to it as a “Biblical quotation.” [Brief at 12].  But the words she typed were: “no weapon formed against me shall prosper.” [Joint Apdx at 113; emphasis added].  That is not a Biblical quotation from any recognized English translation of the Bible, specifically the Old Testament Book, Isaiah 54-17 [KJV], which is generally accepted to be a rendition of what the prophet Isaiah was told by God and reads: “No weapon that is formed against thee [you] shall prosper.” 

 That being said however, in view of the MRFF’s long-standing policy of publicly “calling out” organized attempts at religious proselytizing (outside of the Chaplaincy) within the military, and the fact that their Brief comes dangerously close to violating the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause as well as violating in principle and practice, Article VI, § 3, U.S. Constitution’s “religious oath” prohibition [“. . . no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States], I have no objection to MRFF’s publicly pointing out the above issues.  

Sincerely,

/S/  Donald G. Rehkopf, Jr.
DONALD G. REHKOPF, JR., Esq.
MRFF Counsel of Record

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19 Comments

  1. Yeshua Warrior

    Dear Mikey,

    These generals served their country well, so please take along with Donald Rehkopf Jr, your complaint and insert it in that little hole at the bottom of your buttocks, then remove it and then please insert it into both your wives vaginas so that they can use it as a tampon!

    From Mr. Rehkopf’s statement, he is no biblical theologian, as he said that the Marine’s quotation “no weapon fashioned against “me” shall prosper cannot be found in any English translation of the bible.Well he is right about that, all the versions say you, but there is nothing wrong with taking the Word of God and personalizing it and I don’t think God minds either. So he is going to quibble over two words, me for you?

    The same could be said for Jeremiah 29:11, where it says “I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not forsake you, to give you a future and a hope.” Those words were for the nation of Israel from God, but how many times do Christians quote this as a promise from God for them. If God says this for a nation of people, why can’t He also do for the individual person?

    The one thing that was not mentioned is that the attorney general of Texas also filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Marine in question.

    I am totally confident that this will be just another case that Liberty Institute will win and one that Mikey and others will lose!!

    What is also interesting is that the quote made for Isaiah 54:17 is only part of the verse, the rest of the verse the Marine can also use to encourage her – and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
    This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
    and their vindication[a] from me, declares the Lord.”

    Shalom.

  2. jimbo

    In my mind this is another example of what I call ‘christianist’, or christian dominionist manipulation of fact in order to gain power. If any of these folk, including the above ‘Yeshua Warrior’ or any of the nine generals would please prove to anyone that any gods exist and therefore can be the basis of claims they make about religion in the military or anywhere then perhaps they should do so before they run around trying to undermine our Constitution. The writers of the Constitution clearly had arguments of these type of folk in mind when they established separation of church and state, and the fact that the existence of no gods has ever been proven, none of the thousands that have been called on that they ignore in their efforts. The droolings of yeshua warrior can be explained away as just evidence of ignorance brought on by one who is unable or incapable of understanding why separation of church and state is so important to this nation, but I believe that the attempts by the nine generals can only be part of conspiracy to destroy our democracy in favor of a theocracy, just as I believe conspiracy is at heart of the infection of our military by these forces. I might point out that I spend my time fighting these same christianist conspirators who infect our civilian media with their lies and hatred. Thank you Sir for being the American hero you’ve become, we look forward to your continued efforts to keep our nation free in the coming New Year. My last donation of 2015 to your cause will be forthcoming before the end of the year.

  3. G

    “If God says this for a nation of people, why can’t He also do for the individual person?”

    You need to take that up with God, YW, or why don’t you pray to God and see if he gives you an answer? BTW, you still not have answer my questions about God’s plan for homeless and poor people or God’s plan for babies who die at stillbirth, or had died in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months after they were born.

    “but there is nothing wrong with taking the Word of God and personalizing it and I don’t think God minds either. So he is going to quibble over two words, me for you?”

    Do you have a direct line with God that he doesn’t mind personalizing his word, YW?

  4. Yeshua Warrior

    Jimbo, once again the writers of the Constitution did not have the so called separation of church and state in mind, because you will not find it in the Constitution at all Jimbo.

    Can you prove that God does not exist? To do that you will have to steal from God to prove that He does not exist.

    So now you are an conspiracy theorist? That nine generals are conspiring to take over this country? Boy you have been drinking some serious kool-aid there friend! The people who are conspiring to take over this country are called Muslims with trying to get their Sharia Law introduced in the laws of states, that is why we need laws that will prevent Sharia Law from every happening in this country.

    ” I spend my time fighting these same christianist conspirators who infect our civilian media with their lies and hatred.” Really, what lies??? That homosexual marriage is wrong, that homosexuality is a sin, that is abortion is murder? Last time I checked Jimbo, there is only one conservative news outlet, all the others are what is known as the liberal media.

    If I were you, I would save your money and not donate to MRFF, or better yet, send it to were it would do more good, like to the FIDF (Friends of the Israel Defense Forces) or Magen David, so that they can buy more armor plated ambulances over in Israel, since terrorists are always either throwing rocks at them or shooting at them.

  5. Connie

    jimbo –

    Thank you for the work you do in the trenches. It can’t be easy battling people who twist reality to fit their worldview. Actually, I know it isn’t easy as I do what little I can without getting out my two by four and applying it Gibbs style to the back of stupid heads. I say stupid as ignorance can be fixed with an open mind. I’ve had to step back as the 2×4 and not words have been my first impulse.

    Prove your god exists you asked and the reply was ‘prove he doesn’t exist’. It is with joy I read those words because as a Quantum Activist I know the power of words. Even as I write this comment people and forces are gathering to do exactly what YW requested. Hopefully the results will be revealed while I am still alive (but not my mom – she is a woman of faith and it would destroy her to learn her deity is not ‘real’).

    I find it hysterical that every religion which once claimed dominion over the planet had the one and only way to TWUE believing. So many ONLY ONE WAYS and so many faiths dismissed as myth. I know – YW would say but mine is real!!! even as millions of citizens move from religious to nones in the polls. Where is his deity to smite all those unbelievers? So far I see human on human violence, no hand of god as in the fairy tales of old.

    I understand you won’t agree with me – for many being a Quantum Activist is just as woo-woo filled as Christianity. That’s OK because this is the USA and we are all free to believe or not believe as we see fit. It is why I read your comments and cheer each point scored (I’ve learned not to do so out loud as it scares my dogs – grins).

    I wish you a Happy New Year and hope it is filled with exactly what you need to succeed and thrive.

  6. Connie

    Hi G – I’ve read your battles with YW. I find it interesting he defends the misquoting of the Bible by this servicemember but when I quote his book I’m an “illiterate biblical scholar”.

    LOL Too funny and so expected.

    Happy New Year to you. I’ll see you next year (a joke my parents used to say to us kids when heading to the neighborhood gathering. First few times were traumatic “what do you mean, NEXT YEAR???!?!?!?!?!!). In reality it is only tomorrow. 🙂

  7. Connie

    YW – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Shall we expect your wife and daughters (lord have mercy on them for being in your family is punishment enough) to do as you’ve done to others?

  8. G

    Dear Connie:

    I love how you quote scriptures better than YW and its true meaning plus taking each one of his arguments and demolishing them.

    Happy New Year to you. Love your remark about New Year’s Day. As Paul McCarthy said in his 1970 song “Another Day”, “Its just another day”

    I

  9. Yeshua Warrior

    I laugh at that comment G!! Connie cannot out quote me on scripture, at least I use it in context while she does not!!

  10. Yeshua Warrior

    Connie, I found some of your fellow pagans you may want to contact them and get together with them before God throws them into the fires of hell.

    http://conservativepost.com/video-obama-allowed-nations-first-satanic-ceremony-on-the-state-capitol/

  11. G

    YW, from what I see in your arguments with Connie, she whips you hands down in both quoting the scriptures and in context despite your 40 years of reading the Bible and going to theologian school.

    YW, God threw the Devil into Hell; however, he always seems to come and go as he pleases despite the fact that God is all-powerful; therefore, God should be able to keep the Devil confined in Hell.

  12. Connie

    YW – I’ve asked you many times how I take the scriptures out of context. I’m still waiting – but not holding my breath as I truly do not expect a response.

    I already know about the Satanists – by the way Asatru is not Christian based so your devil has no meaning for me. In fact there is historical evidence that your faith stole the image of the Horned God (nature based deity who governs the forest and all who dwell within) and turned it into your vision of evil.

    I guess all new faiths do that – demonize the gods of the old faith in order to appease the new ones. I for one will be happier when such practices are historical rather than current events.

    As for your continued use of Shalom, there will not be peace until radical terrorists such as yourself learn to share with the rest of humanity.

    PS – for the pagans who read this site I know my explanation of The Horned One is simplistic. I tailored my response to the level of the OP

  13. G

    Dear Connie:

    I look up the word Asatru and found this website: http://www.asatru.org/ and read some of its contents.

    I found it in the words of Mr. Spock “fascinating.”

  14. G

    Gee, YM, those Satanists were espousing some of the values that the Republican Party hold dear the only difference is that the Republicans only believe in those values when it benefits them and not to the rest of the population.

  15. Yeshua Warrior

    You means like values of pro-marriage, pro-life, pro-gun, small government, pro-Israel., I think not G!

    I thought it was disgusting when those two heathen gay men lip locked for so long. How disgusting can you get. I am sure that disgusted God as well!

  16. G

    Pro-life? Well, the Republican Party are anti-life when it comes to not supporting free/affordable health care and a college/vocational education. Republican only like small government where wealthy people and corporations can do anything they want to make a buck and not worry about government sending them to jail for causing economic havoc in the USA and the rest of the world.

    Pro-gun? After Ronald Reagan nearly got killed, you think that the Republican Party would be supporting strong gun control laws; but, I guess that Republicans would not be supporting such laws unless Reagan was shot at by an Afro-American instead of a white person. All those murdered kids at Newtown were white kids living in an affluent neighborhood; but again, you did not see the Republican party do anything. I guess white kids in upper middle class/wealthy class neighborhoods are expendable just like poor kids.

    You don’t know how God view those two guys lip locking or did God come down and tell you?

  17. G

    Jefferies also pointed out that Christians can’t deal with facts and are so stupid for forgiving God for doing evil things or saying that God is working in mysterious ways when he does those things.

  18. G

    Small government YW? The Republicans seem to like small government when government is not allowed to regulate business to ensure that people are not cheated of their wages, to ensure the people have good working conditions, to ensure that businesses do not polluted the ground, air, and water or if they did, that the CEOs and his/her cronies get heavy prison time and/or have their company’s license to do business be revoked.

    If Republicans believe in small government, then they should have not support Bush, Jr., illegal spying on the American people during the first two years of his office plus supporting post 9/11 laws that allows the government to snoop on anyone even if that person or organization that are not a genuine threat to the USA plus legitimatizing police misconduct, police brutality, and police corruption.

  19. G

    If Republicans believed in small government, then they should be cutting back on the war budget (sorry I meant defense budget) and get rid of all those overseas military bases that have grown since the end of the Cold War.

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